The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 36 million people worldwide abuse opioids. While those numbers are staggering, it is estimated that two percent of those users dependent on opioids will die each year. This is because they do not seek treatment for opioid withdrawal.
What is Opioid Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is the physical and psychological symptoms caused by not having opioids in the body. Symptoms range in intensity depending on the person’s age, health, and use of opioids. Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include nausea, restlessness, sweating, chills, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia. Severe symptoms and intolerance to pain drive the addict to use again rather than fully detox from opioids.
How Long does Opioid Withdrawal Last?
The physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal can subside within days to a few weeks. But the psychological effects will last a lifetime. It will take years for your brain to work normally, releasing dopamine again if you nourish the brain with proper nutrition. But the wish to use, cravings, those last a lifetime. Former addicts will need support to make daily decisions of sobriety.
Looking for an Opioid Withdrawal Timeline?
Many people who have tried to detox from opioids on their own have failed due to the intensity or length of symptoms. Before trying to detox again, they look for information on opioid withdrawal timelines. Any timeline one finds will not be completely right as each person will experience different symptoms in varying degrees of intensity.
Plus, while one is detoxing, it becomes difficult to keep track of symptoms and how long they last. One may feel like the chills last for weeks when it has only been a few days. Since the mind is not releasing neurotransmitters without the opioids, symptoms will seem hasher than they are.
The good news is that opioid withdrawal timelines are documented by medical staff in detox centers and hospitals. The following timeline is relatively correct view of opioid withdrawal.
Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
Day 1 and 2: Opioid withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours of the last dose, although agitation and nervousness may begin sooner. Opioids are used to combat pain. Without the drugs in the system, the pain will return and can be overwhelming. This is followed by sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Detox will sometimes feel like a severe cold.
Days 3 through 5: Often the worst of the pain is done by now. Hydration is important although difficult as vomiting may still occur. Physicians recommend eating small, hydrating meals like light broths. The body will be in shock and needs wholesome foods to recover.
Diarrhea should be reduced by now as the body has nothing left in the system. Cramping will continue, as will vomiting, chills, and goosebumps.
Day 6 until the end: Most of the severe symptoms will be past at this point. The body will need time to recover and nausea may stay indefinitely. The hardest opioid withdrawal symptoms to manage will be the cravings. Combat cravings by working a 12-Step program and stay physically active. Diet, exercise, and hobbies to keep your mind busy will help.
More Ways to Combat Cravings
Suffering through opioid withdrawal and detox can be difficult and is sometimes impossible to do alone. Consider a detox center to make the process less intimidating. Medical professionals can help you manage the withdrawal symptoms, offering the support needed to succeed.
Once detoxed, a recovery center is the best choice to learn new habits and break the vicious cycle of addiction. Call the Aion Recovery Helpline at 888-811-2879. Addiction recovery specialists can help you find the best treatment for your condition.